Federal regulations governing Regulated Navigation Areas (RNA) and Limited Access Areas, Safety Zones, and Security Zones are outlined in 33 CFR Part 165. The purpose of these regulations is to:
1) Prescribe procedures for establishing different types of limited or controlled access areas and regulated navigation areas.
2) Prescribe general regulations for different types of limited or controlled access areas and regulated navigation areas.
3) Prescribe specific requirements for established areas.
4) List specific areas and their boundaries.
Regulated Navigation Areas and Limited Access Areas (33 CFR Part 165 Subpart B): RNA’s are water areas within a defined boundary for which regulations for vessels navigating within the area have been established. The District Commander can issue RNA’s to control vessel traffic in a place determined to have hazardous conditions. RNA’s usually prescribe what type or size of vessels may enter an area or in what manner they must navigate. .
RNA’s differ from safety and security zones in two respects. First, only District Commanders are authorized to establish RNA’s; Coast Guard Captains of the Port may not. Second, safety and security zones are typically transitory in nature, responsive to a temporary safety or security concern on the water. They are meant to control access to an area; but they could also be used to control access based on compliance with specified temporary operating conditions within the safety or security zone necessary for the purpose of the zone’s creation.
RNA’s are usually created where a more permanent solution to a safety or environmental concern is required. They principally regulate the operation of vessels permitted inside the area, but may establish control of access to an area if such controlled access is necessary.
Safety Zones (33 CFR Part 165 Subpart C): Generally, a safety zone is an area of water and/or land designated for a certain time for safety or environmental purposes. To protect human safety or the environment, a safety zone will limit public access to the area. Except for those situations where a safety zone is needed around an Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) facility, safety zones may not extend beyond the twelve-mile territorial sea. Regulations governing the establishment of safety zones on the OCS are located in 33 CFR Part 147.
Security Zones (33 CFR Part 165 Subpart D): Generally, a security zone is an area of water and/or land designated for a certain time to protect vessels, harbors, ports and waterfront facilities from sabotage, damage or injury due to subversive acts, accidents or other causes of a similar nature. To provide protection to a vessel or waterfront facility, a security zone will often surround a vessel or a waterfront facility, preventing other vessels from approaching.
Regulations for Regulated Navigation Areas and Limited Access Areas